Paul Simon´s Proposed Lake Tahoe Set List
Dear Paul, Steve, Vincent and the Band & families thereof :
Welcome to Lake Tahoe! My little town. I´ll be flying my kite over your stage at the foot of Heavenly…
We were late for the show the last time I saw you. You were performing at the Costa Mesa Amphitheater, the Hearts and Bones Tour. We mistakenly thought the show was at the Universal Amphitheater in L.A. So we unwittingly missed the first couple of songs desperately driving down the 405 to ´O.C.´
Shocked that only 1500, (an ´enlightened few´), showed up for the concert, my brother and I settled in about 25 rows back and began to revel in our first PS show. It was you, 3 guitars and a ghettoblaster back up band. It was, and still is, the best show I´ve ever been to.
You were obviously as disheartened as we were by the size of the crowd. However, you left no one disappointed. You talked to us like we were family in your living room, sharing your inspirations for songs; chicken and eggs, teaching your son to rhyme, even taking requests such as Kathy´s Song. Your presence and humility will always be rejoiced in my mind.
Now, we´re feeling more and more excitable seeing you beginning to wrap up the night and we haven´t heard our family´s new theme song: Slip Slidin Away. (Formally ´Born to be Wild´ until we all got sober.) Yes, you can call me Al(coholic). So, in a moment of coming silence, just as you´re finishing a song, and in a fit of hysteria, we scream at the top of our lungs: SLIP SLIDIN AWAY! You were absolutely dumbstruck for a comeback, you must have been thinking ´what the hell kinda audience is this! requesting material already played?! Finally, you say, ´What do you want me to do, change my repertoire??´ It was then that a very considerate one of the enlightened few, (even though she was laughing), leaned over the aisle to tell us that you had, in fact, played it as the second or third song of the night´s set.
Well, you can bet that I won´t be late to tonight´s show. In fact, I´ll be there early looking for you to autograph the cover of the best album you´ve ever written: Surprise. If you here someone shouting out for ´Beautiful´, you´ll know you´ve once again heard from a heartfelt fan. A fan that has, over the course of a lifetime, run a worldview subliminally instilled by you...A fan that bleeds, (now more than ever: at 2 in 15), Dodger Blue…(and Paul Simon too.)
Speaking of fear and loathing, part of the Dodger ethos, I was at first frightened by your collaboration with Eno (now I rejoice in it) and more frightened after hearing War Time Prayers performed on that morning talk/misinformation show, and more alarmed at the opening and continuing thunder of …Northeast, heard on the radio, I have to admit that I put off buying Surprise in favor of some Dvorak and again for some Tchaikovsky. When you announced that you were coming to my little town, Lake Tahoe (I actually thought it was a cruel joke at first), I, of course, had to get it. It was just a matter of time, and patience, and understanding.
It’s the second pop album I´ve purchased since 1998. The first was You´re the One. I find that you alone stand out in the world of pop as the only living savior of it. (I´ve felt for years that Rock is just doggedly slurping it´s own urine for sustenance and I could really care less if it has or does die. In fact, I look forward to it´s final demise- in hope that something better will rise from its ashes.) You, and perhaps David Burne, are the only reasons that I occasionally look back. I actually cried seeing him play NaÄ¼ve Melody with his ´Rhythm Section´ composed of 2 String Quartets on Austin City Limits several years ago.
That said-here´s my set list
(In no particular order)
Hearts and Bones (The greatest love song since Beethoven´s Moonlight Sonata)
Beautiful (surely Al Gore´s favorite song)
Just play the new album in it´s entirety-it is, without hesitation, your best ever.
Something So Right
Kathy´s Song (!!!Please!!!)
American Tune (For an ´America Hater´)
A twenty minute guitar solo/duet with Vincent Nguini: The very thought of it shoots Kundalini waves right up the spine
…Mardi Gras (for Harry Shearer´s hard work keeping us informed on Norlins, too))
Me and Julio…
Slip Slidin Away
and in memory of my Mom: Still Crazy…
(She had the acronym SCAATY as her CA. vanity license plate.)
I am Yours,
The South Lake Ski Bum
First time posting (or even reading) here, and I have to say that I only found this site when I was scouting around for any reviews of the Lake Tahoe show... surprised (hmm, pun there, I guess) that absolutely none have been posted since Sunday evening´s show.
Back in early June, when I read that there was going to be a concert up in Lake Tahoe on July 30th, we decided to plan a weekend around the event, since there were no shows announced for the Bay Area, and since my oldest son would be celebrating his 21st birthday around that date. We (husband, older son, and younger teen) had seen Paul Simon on a very odd afternoon at the Shoreline Amphitheatre several years back, when he had Brian Wilson opening for him. The boys were very impressed by Paul´s performance then, and even with the hot sun glaring right in his eyes, he delivered an inspiring, solid show. I can´t remember the make-up of that backing band at this point, since we were all very disturbed by the opening act. If I recall correctly, it was Brian Wilson´s birthday and Brian´s band sang him Happy Birthday during the opening set, but Wilson himself never stood up after arriving at the stage, sat behind the keyboard, and seemed totally out of it, completely zombied, for the entire set. It was very sad, and I had make a point of cataloging the Beach Boys´ hits and telling my sons that this guy really had been/was still a solid artist; a musician with much talent who had had his problems along the way. Still, it left an odd pall over the whole afternoon.
So for their next Paul Simon concert, I think they were approaching it a little warily, and when we arrived at the Harvey´s Casino outdoor theatre, my younger son took a look around and asked us why his dad hadn´t received ´the memo´ that all men had to have grey hair and wear flowery, tropical shirts. OUCH (on all men attending´s behalf)!! But as we sat there in the folding chairs in the space which must have held less than 3,000 folks, with a late afternoon/early evening darkening sky over the lake area threatening a rain shower, a beautiful double rainbow appeared over the mountains and the casino buildings, and everyone started to smile, pull out the cell phones and cameras to record the moment, and turn to talk to their neighbors. A really nice start to the evening.
Jerry Douglas and his group opened the show, and I was impressed, not having heard about them before. It seems a lot of the audience was not familiar with their work and tended to ignore the talent on stage. Later, I spoke with a co-worker who knew of his work and was wowed that Paul Simon (he seemed to be indicating surprise (um, again!) that ´Paul Simon, a pretty mainstream guy, choosing Jerry Douglas, *the* dobro maestro´!!!) had selected Jerry to be his opening act. I´ve since found out that Jerry Douglas will be playing at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco in October, so will check him out again there. Ok, that aside taken care of, Jerry´s music seemed tepidly received by the crowd awaiting Paul Simon, which is always a little awkward for the audience, the performer of the opening act, and the headliner who has set this up. I hope that it was just an unrepresentative pocket of audience that we were sitting in, and that the applause was much louder closer to the front. They were good sports, however, and acknowledged that the audience was really waiting for the main act.
Simon and the band came out just as it was getting dark, and received a mighty welcome. As I said before, I am an admirer, but not an avid follower of the tours, so I can´t begin to talk about the technical aspects of the show or relate it back to many other shows that I have seen. Please forgive the newbie-ness there. I can say, though, that the set list seems to follow pretty closely to the Costa Mesa set list, and if I had only read that review before the show, I would have taken some notes. The show seemed to start out pretty tamely, and while it was entertaining, it wasn´t until the first 25 minutes or so (after even the new radio-friendly ´Outrageous´ had been played, among some classic tunes) that things seemed to kick into gear and the audience was really engaged. The more lively ´Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes´ and ´Graceland´ had folks on their feet and dancing, although in our section, everyone seemed to be overly-polite and not wanting to block the view of those behind them, since the folding chairs were on a flat plane. Nice and polite, but also a little disappointing, since some of the other sections were up and having a great time moving, we could see. T
There was a nice swing/balance between the slower ballad-type songs and the rocking tunes, and between the newer and the classics which everyone knew. ´Cecilia´ seemed to be a big crowd-pleaser, although I have to admit that out of the faster tunes, even with the nostalgia factor, that´s not one of my faves. I really enjoyed the way that many of the arrangements were a bit different than the recorded version, and surprising, the tempo a bit different, especially on the tunes later in the show, such as ´Mrs. Robinson´ and ´Bridge over Troubled Water´. I have been to Tom Petty concerts which turn into big ol´ sing-a-longs where the audience drowns out the singer and the musicians, since the notes and the arrangement are so similar to the recordings; this show was definitely not the case, and I SO appreciated that fact. Any time the audience thought they knew which way the melody was going to take them, it got changed up a bit. Wonderful!! So, in the end, we were left humming the tune ´in our heads´ and just following and appreciating the music and the instruments themselves. Did I mention that this was wonderful and surprising?
Highlights of the show for me were ´Still Crazy´ - wow, a great personal storytelling going on there, and a nice, solid arrangement (remember, I apologized for not talking about the backing band and the tech side before!), and again, WOW, when Paul called Jerry Douglas out to play his dobro on ´The Boxer´ - it was as if that instrument filled in some way for Garfunkel´s vocals, and it really was a magic 5 minutes or so. This was one song that Simon turned to the audience and granted them leave to participate in, and the soft but not-at-all-tentative ´Lie-la-lie´s filled the smallish arena and the night air with a tender spirit that seemed to really soar up the sides of the mountain bowl. A really special few moments.
I think a lot of the audience (maybe those of us who had not been following the tour) were very surprised that there was not just the one standard encore, but two more after that. In fact, we got caught by surprise a bit with the second encore and ended up sprinting to the side bleachers and settling in again, for (if I remember correctly) ´Wartime Prayers´ (very moving), ´Bridge Over Troubled Water´, and then when we thought that was the end, the VERY end, we headed out of the arena, and as soon as we were out of the gate, we heard the horns starting up and leading into ´Late in the Evening´, which is one of my very favorite ´fast´ Simon tunes, and although our feet were dancing along the pavement, we weren´t allowed back in. Small price/pain to pay for such a long, fantastic set. It sounded great outside as well...!
All in all, a great concert, and we were very impressed by the strength of Paul´s vocals - after all these years - hardly EVER missing a note, and impressed by simply watching his gestures and ease on stage, just telling his stories. The adroit songwriter that Simon is, and long will be, is his legacy, and it´s a privilege to experience this firsthand.